Some of the most important updates from Butch Jones’ media session on Monday afternoon:
No more injury talk: Butch Jones reiterated what he said after the Texas A&M game about not talking about injuries for the rest of the season. He did give updates on a couple players, but he said discussion on anything further won’t happen.
Jones said senior linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin is “still looking at different options” and will have all the time he needs to make that decision. He also stated that redshirt senior defensive tackle Danny O’Brien is “day-to-day” after being carted off on a stretcher in the second half against Texas A&M.
Waiting to hear back: Jones expressed his concern for player safety when it comes to targeting, but he also stated he wasn’t convinced there shouldn’t have been more targeting calls during the game.
The Vols had a targeting call go against them when freshman safety Nigel Warrior was flagged and ejected for a block on a punt return. But Tennessee kick returner Evan Berry was hit hard on a kick return and fumbled after impact. Berry would leave the game for a while after the hit, but he ultimately came back in.
Jones said “everything is about player safety” in regards to targeting calls, but he says he’s waiting to hear back from the SEC office about the hit on Berry.
Praise and personnel moves: Jones handed out several compliments to players during his press conference on Monday. He pointed out offensive linemen Coleman Thomas and Venzell Boulware as having good games, and he said defensive tackles Shy Tuttle and Kahlil McKenzie “played their best games of the year.”
Jones also said he’s been proud of linebacker Colton Jumper and the effort he’s put forward so far. Jones stated that cornerback Malik Foreman’s forced fumble late in the fourth quarter that saved a Texas A&M touchdown from happening “defines who we are as a program.” He also said Alvin Kamara’s day was nothing he’d seen before, stating he doesn’t think he’s ever been around a performance like that in a long time.
Linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. has missed all of Tennessee’s SEC play so far, but Jones said there’s a good chance both he and Jumper will be on the field at the same time if Kirkland can go this weekend. Jumper originally joined the starting lineup after Kirkland went down with injury against Virginia Tech.